Monday 29 May 2017

The provinces 'will adjust'

EDDIE WIGGLESWORTH is known as the no-nonsense director of rugby at Lansdowne Road and he was in no mood to mince his words in his message to the provinces yesterday.

When it was put to him that the moves to curtail the employment of foreign players might put off imported coaches applying for Irish coaching jobs in future, the former Leinster chief executive put the ball firmly in the provinces' court.

"The provinces have a duty of responsibility to speak to a new coach and explain the situation," he said.

"We have a duty and responsibility to inform directors of coaching at the provinces, who are employees of the IRFU, what they are coming into so that they fully understand the restraints -- and there are restraints, I make no apologies for that because we have only got four professional sides.

"This is all about gap analysis and succession planning at provincial level, because if that is right, then it will be right at national level."

A former St Mary's and Leinster flanker who coached his club to the AIL final in 1993, Wigglesworth became the Leinster Branch chief executive in 1994.

He was appointed to the role of IRFU director of rugby in 1998, a position he has held since and he has been right at the heart of the development the structures of the professional game in Ireland.

And he said he was confident that provinces will get to grips with the situation sooner rather than later.

"The provinces will get to understand this situation and will make this work.

"There will be conversations before, during and after the season about it in relation to where provinces will go," he said.

"There will be trade-offs, but this is not a sudden imposition on the provinces.

"There is plenty of time to allow them to get the train in order to move on."

Irish Independent

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